SPRINGTIME IN GAY PAREE: People of every sexuality turned out in their finest fashion for the annual Spring Fling at the Delta Hotel Saturday night to support the major fundraiser for the Rainbow Resource Centre. Unlike many galas in Winnipeg, you did not gaze out upon a sea of black clothing. Everyone was decked out in imaginative fashion in spring colours. Award-winning singer-songwriter/dancer Jully Black had everyone gobsmacked by her talent as she ruled the stage in her gold chain breastplate and hot pants. The Toronto R&B performer had the dance floor packed and pulsing with her hit Seven Day Fool.
The Rainbow Resource Centre on Scott Street has helped thousands of people in the GLBTTQQA* community (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, two-spirited, queer, questioning, allies and asterisk -- the asterisk includes those sexual orientations not listed). The night was anything but serious, with red-carpet paparazzi photos, an RBC Snap and Share social-media photo station, canapes, auctions and a scrumptious dinner. And ooh-la-la -- zee decor! The Parisian-styled ballroom featured a ceiling-high Eiffel Tower, with spring flowers by Beyond Flowers, evoking Gay Paree in the month of May. DJ Roy generated feverish dancing long into the night. But no one will ever forget exuberant Bella Burgos, the naturally emerging poster child for transgender youth, who reminded the crowd by video screen just how important it is to "be yourself" and to donate to help the Rainbow Resource Centre, with an ear-ringing message for everyone to "Get out your money!" which cracked the crowd up.
SPOTTED: Chuck Sanderson as Louis XVI, and Ashley Smith as Marie Antoinette (pre-guillotine, of course) in outfits from the late 1700s. Marie Antoinette's bustle, created with interior pool noodles and a suspension system to raise and lower the dress for dancing, was the brainchild of costume designer Robert Butler. Political hopeful Robert-Falcon Ouellette (who had attended 19 events that week) and his crackerjack wife Catherine, mom of their five young kids, joined the Free Press table, which included VP digital media Sandra Kukreja, sales rep Lorena Gaudio and advice columnist Miss Lonelyhearts. Also making the scene: Executive director of the Rainbow Resource Centre Mike Tuthill, City of Winnipeg film commissioner Kenny Boyce; Doug Stephen of WOW Hospitality; Heather Stewart of Lilyfield Cakes; Nancy Allan, MLA for St. Vital; Jean-Louis Danguy from Denise et Jean-Louis Catering; Terrell Stephen of Perth's; Rob Ritchie of RBC Public Affairs and Communications; W.T. Grogan from the City of Winnipeg; fundraiser guru Louis Trepel and Patrick O'Reilly. Shandi Strong, upcoming grand marshal of the Pride Parade on June 14, was the table photographer. (The rally starts at noon at the Manitoba Legislature.)
WISE GUYS RISE AGAIN: Former Wise Guys customers from both locations -- the famous Rorie Street bar in the east Exchange District and the venue at the University of Manitoba campus -- are converging on the old watering-hole location at 140 Bannatyne (rear entrance) on Thursday at 7 p.m. for a blowout fundraising bash and reunion. Net proceeds go to the Winnipeg Foundation and the Kevin Walters Memorial Fund, which was created to help develop the careers of local musicians. Walters died on June 24, 2014. All funds raised will be matched by the Winnipeg Foundation. Musicians playing include Harlequin's Georges Belanger, country band Doc Walker, Keith and Renee, and Ultimate Escape, a Journey tribute band. The neon Wise Guys sign will be on display. Tickets are $50 and are available by calling 204-956-3569.
I HEART UWINNIPEG: So now Mayor Brian Bowman is an artist with people paying to win his art! The University of Winnipeg's event hit it out of the park at the end of the gala season with on-the-spot paintings by gala VIPS -- "framed watercolour masterpieces" -- created by Bowman, Dr. Annette Trimbee, Dr. Glenn Moulaison, and Brian Daly president and CEO of U of W's Foundation. The classy, intimate gala took place at the Canad Inns Polo Park on May 21. The dinner served was so tasty people were remarking on it all evening.
The money raised was in support of the Opportunity Fund. Since its inception in 2007, the Opportunity Fund has provided $2 million in assistance to more than 1,765 students. This year's event featured student recipients of the Opportunity Fund as performers, speakers and guests. They honoured the late Lindor Reynolds, a Winnipeg Free Press columnist remembered with the Lindor Reynolds Youth-in-Care Tuition Waiver Bursary. Students Grace Redhead, Stella Rakwach and Rayna Gopaul spoke from the heart about what it meant to them to receive financial assistance to help pursue their dreams.
SPOTTED: Lindor Reynolds' family -- husband Neil Dempsey, daughter Kate McPhaden and son-in-law Alex McPhaden -- and her close Free Press reporter friends Alex Paul and Catherine Mitchell. Co-hosts were University of Winnipeg's president and vice-chancellor Dr. Annette Trimbee, as well as associate vice-president of indigenous affairs (and former CBC reporter) Wab Kinew. Also seen enjoying the evening were lawyer Sherri Walsh and her husband Dr. Louis Ludwig; Free Press perspectives and politics editor Shannon Sampert; geography Prof. Marc Vachon; elder Myra Laramee; Free Press co-owner Bob Silver; Minister of Children and Youth Services Melanie Wight; Lloyd Axworthy; Job and the Economy Minister Kevin Chief; and Eric Johnstone, chairman of the University of Winnipeg board of regents.
Got tips, events, special events going on? Call the tip line at 204-474-1116 or write Maureen Scurfield c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave. Winnipeg, Mb. R2X 3B6
Copyright F.P. Canadian Newspapers Limited Partnership Jun 1, 2015